With The U’s future cleared up, Clint Hurtt’s gets murkier

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Rightly so, Miami and its fans are celebrating the end of one of the most bizarre NCAA “situations” anyone’s seen with the release of the Committee on Infractions report.

The report, which can be viewed in its 102-page entirety HERE and in press release form HERE, begins by stating that “[t]he University of Miami lacked institutional control when it did not monitor the activities of a major booster, the men’s basketball and football coaching staffs, student-athletes and prospects for a decade.”  It went on to confirm previous reports that the football program will lose nine scholarships over three years and serve three years probation, but will face no further bowl ban.

Additionally, one of the football program penalties reads, “Miami may only provide a prospect on unofficial visits complementary tickets for one home game during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.”  There are no further recruiting sanctions placed on the program beyond what the university had already self-imposed.

While the future for Miami and the Hurricanes football program has been cleared up, the same can’t be said for a former UM assistant now employed at a future ACC school.

Current Louisville defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator and former Miami assistant Clint Hurtt was hit with a two-year show-cause penalty for his role in the scandal.  It’s claimed that the booster at the center of the scandal, Nevin Shapiro, provided Hurtt with over $7,000 in “impermissible supplemental income.”  The NCAA in its report further claimed that Hurtt and another former Miami assistant, Aubrey Hill, “provided prospects with free lodging, meals and transportation.”

Hill, now a high school coach in Florida, was also given a two-year show-cause.

Most damning for both Hurtt and Hill, especially the former, is that the final report alleges the “former football coaches provided false or misleading information to Miami and the [NCAA] enforcement staff during the investigation.”  Hurtt’s current employer, Louisville, has long stood by the assistant, with the proviso that he had not lied to the NCAA about his involvement.

Hurtt was placed on administrative leave back in March so that he could prepare a response to the NCAA’s charge of unethical conduct; whether he’s placed on permanent leave will be determined by athletic director Tom Jurich, who may have his own date with the NCAA to discuss the viability of keeping Hurtt on Charlie Strong‘s staff.

“If these individuals [with show-cause penalties] are employed at an NCAA member school during these two years, they and their current or future employer must appear before the Committee on Infractions to determine if the coach should have his duties limited,” the release states.

As of now, Louisville is declining to discuss the future of Hurtt, who returned to the team in August and remains a part of the coaching staff.

Shawn Eichorst’s firing at Nebraska increases heat on Mike Riley

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If Mike Riley wasn’t feeling the pressure to win before, he certainly is now.

Thursday afternoon, Nebraska announced that Shawn Eichorst, the man responsible for firing Bo Pelini as head football coach and hiring Riley as his replacement, has been ousted from his position as athletic director at the university.  The move is effective immediately.

Eichorst was hired by NU in October of 2012, and still has $1.7 million remaining on a contract that runs through June of 2019.  The university will be responsible for paying Eichorst that entire amount.

“Shawn has led Nebraska Athletics in many positive ways, but those efforts have not translated into on-field performance,” chancellor Ronnie Green said in a statement. “Our fans and our student-athletes deserve leadership that drives the highest levels of competitiveness, as well as excellence across all facets of Husker Athletics.”

The fact that the chancellor mentioned lack of on-field performance should be especially worrisome for Riley.

The Cornhuskers won at least nine games in each of the seven seasons under Pelini.  His last two seasons, they finished a combined 18-7.  In Riley’s two-plus seasons, they’ve gone 16-13, including a 1-2 stumble out of the gate this year.

The move to fire Eichorst comes less than a week after Nebraska lost 21-17 to Northern Illinois at Memorial Stadium.

That loss marked NU’s first defeat at home to a Group of Five team since falling to Southern Miss in 2004.  That was the first year of the Bill Callahan reign in Lincoln, a season that would finish with a 5-6 record; that was the program’s worst since going 3-6-1 in 1961.

The NIU loss was also the first time, ever, that the Cornhuskers have lost to a team from the MAC, either at home, on the road or on a neutral field.

USC optimistic Uchenna Nwosu will play against Cal

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Already battered by injuries on defense, USC may have avoided what would’ve potentially been a significant loss on that side of the ball.

Uchenna Nwosu suffered a sprained MCL in his knee during USC’s double-overtime win over Texas in Week 3.  After being held out in the early part of the week, the linebacker, armed — or kneed as the case may be — with a brace, returned to practice Wednesday.

Afterward, head coach Clay Helton seemed optimistic about Nwosu’s availability for the Week 4 game against Cal, their first road trip of the season.

Nwosu is currently second on the team in tackles with 20, while his seven pass breakups rank second nationally.  He’s started the first three games of the season for the Trojans after starting every game in 2016.

That brings us to the end of the positive injury news portion of the program as fellow linebacker Porter Gustin is very unlikely to play against the Golden Bears.  Gustin, who leads the Trojans in sacks with three, has been dealing with a surgically-repaired big toe.  While it didn’t keep him out of the Texas game as expected, he was sidelined again at practice Wednesday.

Additionally, defensive end Rasheem Green (ankle) and slot cornerback Ajene Harris (knee) are questionable for the road trip to Berkeley after sitting out practice yet again.

Tennessee LB Cortez McDowell’s season might not be over after all

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In the end, there could be an injury silver lining for Tennessee after all.

In the aftermath of the deflating last-second loss to rival Florida, Tennessee head coach Butch Jones announced that Cortez McDowell would miss the remainder of the 2017 season.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his wrist that, at the time, was deemed serious enough to shelve him for the rest of the year.

The key here is “at the time” as, a couple of days later, the prognosis has brightened slightly as Jones allowed Wednesday that McDowell could return at some point this season.  Whether it’s late in the regular season or even for a bowl game, the coach at least left the door open for the senior to play again in 2017.

Obviously, any availability would be determined in the coming weeks by the program’s medical staff.

McDowell would be eligible for a medical hardship waiver if he shut it down for the remainder of the season, which would give the fourth-year senior another year of eligibility to use in 2018.  At least at this point in time, that’s not the tack that either the player or the football program is taking.

After starting four of 12 games last season, McDowell started the first three games this season prior to his injury.

 

Derrius Guice ruled out for LSU’s game vs. Syracuse

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So there you have it.

Late in the third quarter of Saturday’s 37-7 loss to Mississippi State, Derrius Guice sustained an injury to his left knee.  While Ed Orgeron downplayed the severity of the injury in the ensuing days, he allowed during his turn on the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday that his star running back is “very questionable right now” for the Week 4 game against Syracuse.

Later that night, on the head coach’s radio show, the very questionable morphed into completely out.

Through three games, Guice leads the Tigers with 300 yards rushing and is tied for tops on the team with four rushing touchdowns. His rushing yards are currently fourth in the SEC; last season, his 1,387 yards were tops in the conference.

With Guice unable to go, Darrel Williams (28-159-4) will likely be next in line to shoulder the brunt of the running-game load.